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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Movie Time: Becoming Jane

My dearest hearts,

**WARNING!!! This post contains a review of Becoming Jane. It may turn out to be an extensive post so please grab yourself a cup of tea and a warm blanket and Enjoy! Be careful and read not this post if you did not see the movie, it has spoilers ;)**
It is never too late to recognise and share the things you love. I have always been in love with period dramas - be it movies or books - and I have never ceased to collect them and share them with the ones I love. Of course this came as a shock sometimes for people who never heard of period dramas... and that made the only connection with the word period that the knew... that being menstruation! :/ When I first told my significant other about period movies he truly believed that those movies were the kind of movies you watch when you are on your period. I beg to differ - I watch them all the time! And to be fair, you don't need to be a lady to like period movies; there are certain period movies that even gentlemen prefer - take for example Braveheart or Rob Roy! Anyway... my love of period drama began when I was a wee lass and I simply devoured all the Jane Austen and Bronte sister novels I found in our library. I cannot remember the exact amount of time I have spent reading and re-reading them nor watching and rewatching adaptations of the books. I even managed to get other people in love with them and that makes my heart happy :) Even though the Bronte sisters did not keep Jane Austen in the highest of regards, for me it's impossible not to love her! As many wonderful and talented and remarcable women of her time, she did not have "all she wanted" but her characters always had a happy ending. Both Jane and her sister Cassandra, her faithful companion, were never married even though they knew love... this is what the movie Becoming Jane also shows us. 
For me, as a Janeite (fan of Jane Austen and everything that is related to her work), it's hard to find something not to love about her. From her writings you can see the modern woman in her, the wit and the gentle manner of writing, of presenting life. She always gave her characters a happy ending, knowing possibly that she will never her one: she choose to live on though her work, which she probably considered her children. And she had 6 glorious sunshined children: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Emma and Persuasion. She also had other unfinished work - to our great sadness... Becoming Jane is the kind of movie that all Janeites should see (if they have not yet seen it and rewatched it, like I did). Some might beg to differ on the love story it shows and some will just go with it - like I do. The movie is based on the assumed love (boyish love, as Tom later on admits it) between Jane Austen (played by Anne Hathaway) and Tom Lefroy (brilliantly adorable Scottish actor James McAvoy).
Now there might be some not-so-amiable ladies and gents who would pick upon this movie but I prefer to take it as it is! They might say Anne is to tall and fair to play Jane, they might pick upon the fact that the romance presented might be in fact just a thing that nowdays we call "fling"... I beg to differ! I rather like to think that Tom truly was the male in her life upon which she constructed the fabulous Mr. Darcy - that every girl cannot help but eventually fall in love with. I love the idea of her bring her model for Elizabeth and her sister, Cassandra, for Jane (Elizabeth 's sister in Pride and Prejudice). It all just falls into place and the way the Austen family is portrayed in this movie... you can definitely see the Bennet's in them ;) and maybe even a bit of Wickham in Jane Austen 's brother!? I love the way the movie was shot, the accompanying music (the OST is just a gem on its own, having the magnificent Adrian Johnston working on it!).
The film is partly based on the 2003 book "Becoming Jane Austen" by Jon Hunter Spence, who was also hired as historical consultant. The final screenplay, developed by Sarah Williams and Kevin Hood, pieced together some known facts about Austen into a coherent story, in what co-producer Graham Broadbent called "our own Austenesque landscape." According to Hood, he attempted to weave together "what we know about Austen's world from her books and letters," and believed Austen's personal life was the inspiration for Pride and Prejudice.
Although it's a magnificent piece of art on its own, it was not entirely well received by the public that was split between the loving portrayal of Jane Austen by Anne and the fact that the movie does not quite stick up to all that was known of Jane. The movie was created for a broader audience, not just the Janeites, hence it is hard to get them content ;) but I am! Just look at the stellar cast and their performance!  Even the supporting actors are extraordinary: Julie Walters, Maggie Smith, James Cromwell! It's a pleasure seeing them pair up! One things for sure that everyone can agree with is the electricity between the main characters of the movie: Jane and Tom - the love affair between the 2 hardly needs any convincing! Both Anne and James are brilliant actors and you can see how well they pair up! One of my favourite scenes (absolute favourite!!!) is the one at the ball, when they dance - the smiles, the movement even if there is lack of words... everything is stunning! Especially considering that at that time, touching was permitted only during dancing :) now tell me how hot/sensual is that?!
Overall, I must admit, I love this movie and I believe I have watched it head to tail at least half a dozen times (if not more!). For sure the soundtrack I have heard more often than that as it is the type of smooth, relaxing music that you can play at absolutely any time! I sometimes would play it at work, in the background, while working on my projects - you try that next time ;) and if you never saw this beauty before, if you like period movies, you are a Janeite fan or you simply like a love story (Spoiler Alert: it does not have a happy ending!) then I wholeheartedly recommend you this movie for a ladies night/smith night on your own with some candles, wine and a box of Kleenex ;) Enjoy!

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves a good period drama

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